Lack of Volunteers Leads Wayne to Take the Reigns on Recovery

The road to recovery in Wayne Nebraska has been an uphill battle.

The town has had some difficulties getting help for families and businesses in need, but they may have found a solution.

When disaster hit, Wayne's leadership looked to key agencies, like the Red Cross, for guidance and recovery, but help didn't come running.

"The 2-1-1 thing didn't work out the way we wanted--like we had hoped. We weren't quite satisfied with it. It was a great program but it wasn't exactly meeting the needs of that we felt we needed to have met," Mayor Ken Chamberlain.

The town has since taken matters into their own hands,using Wayne's own assets within the town.

The brains of the operation lies in an exercise room at the Wayne Community Center. It's been converted to a full-fledged hotline center for tornado relief efforts.

Post-its fill the walls with requests and volunteers respond with resources, time and selfless service.

The 24/7 base has taken charge of relief operations and has seen more volunteer participation, but it's still faced some difficulties.

"It's been tough," said Jill Brodersen, city council president. "The people that need the help, they are not calling as much. We're finding that we have to make phone calls to them to find out what they really need. They don't know that help is available."

To help with that problem, the national disaster response organization, Team Rubicon, has stepped in and they're working at the headquarters and out in the field to make sure the job gets done.

"When disaster strikes local governments, you know, their capacity is limited. I mean, it's, they have a limitation of what they're able to do based on their capacity, so volunteerism is actually a very important part of response and recovery for disasters and without volunteerism it just can't happen," said Shane Valverde, region 6 operations manager for Team Rubicon.

Wayne has caught on to this reality and now, it's through their spirit of volunteerism that the town can move forward.

That progress begins this weekend.

The Volunteer Center and several local businesses will host a tornado relief bar-ba-cue at Journey Christian Church, and a soup lunch at the Wayne Armory from 11a.m. to 2p.m.

First responders, volunteers and tornado victims are encouraged to come to the free event.

Additionally, a relief fund has also been set up for victims of last week's tornado.

The fund has been set up several banks, including, F&M Bank, First Nebraska Bank, State National Bank and two Bank First branches, both in Wayne and Norfolk.

Donations can be made to specific families or businesses that have been affected.

Money can also be donated to the General Relief Fund, which will be spread throughout the community.

For more information on how to donate, contact the individual bank.

For more information on how to volunteer, contact the Volunteer Hotline Center at 402-833-1833.

And, for more information on this weekend's events contact Mike Burris at 402-360-4164. OR